Kwiatkowski posts Milan-Sanremo win on Strava
The effort required to follow Sagan's attack after 285km of racing
Peter Sagan's attack on the final climb of the Poggio was epic. Many Sprinters like Kristoff said afterwards they just couldn't follow as they were on the limit. Such was the speed of and depth of the attacks, Sprinters like Mark Cavendish were dropped on the Cipressa.
It was Tom Dumoulin from Sun Web who really grabbed the race by the scruff of the neck and dug deep. After Dumoulin pulled over just before the top of the Poggio, Sagan launched an almighty attack that surprised everyone, no one responded immediately.
Within a few seconds, Alaphilippe and Kwiatkowski set about bridging across to Sagan.
Milan-San Remo is a long ride, so lets take up the race, as it hit the coast and the peloton started to wind up the pace. Kwiatkowski’s average speed went up from 36 to 46 kph.
The real racing started in the last 30km. The penultimate climb of the Cipressa saw the Sprinters teams vying for positions and Mark Cavendish was brought to the front by Dimension Data, to still be in contention at the top of the Cipressa. That back fired spectacularly.
With an average gradient of only 4%, Kwiatkowski's power went up to an average of nearly 360 watts for nearly 10 minutes with a heart rate of 178 bpm, as the Peloton was shattered. Mark Cavendish was dropped halfway up the Cipressa, it was mayhem.
With just over 9km to go what was left of the Peloton hit the lower slopes of the infamous final climb of the Poggio. With an average gradient of only 3.7 per cent and 285 kms in the legs it was pure hell. Kwiatkowski averaged 443 watts on his ascent of the Poggio which took 5:47 with an average heart rate of 181 bpm and average cadence of 99 rpm. The effort earned him the Strava KOM. As Tom Domoulin pulled over and Sagan attacked, it was where things really lit up.
To follow the world champion with Alaphilippe, Kwiatkowski averaged 612 watts with a max of 1012 watts. Kwiatkowski hit his maximum heart rate 190 bpm at the top of the climb as they chased Sagan down, over the top, down the final descent.
On the descent Sagan and company grew a gap of 18 seconds with a combination of brilliant descending and recovery skills.
Kwiatkowski and Alaphilippe left Sagan out to dry until the last kilometre when they realised they would stay in front of what was left of the peloton.
Sagan rounded the final corner onto the Via Roma, Kwiatkowski left Sagan on the front and waited until the current world champion opened up his sprint which he did from the front with around 200m to go.
Kwiatkowski followed with a maximum effort of 1220 watts, and just came around Sagan with 50m to go hitting a max speed of 64 kph.
Sagan had burnt all his matches and the match box. All he could do was lunge for the line, but Kwiatkowski had the one last match to strike at the very end and just pipped Sagan on the line to win in a time of 7:08:39.
That's what it takes to beat the World Champion and win Milan San-Remo after 290 kms.
2017 Milan-San Remo Top 10
1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 7:08:39
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors
4 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin 0:00:05
5 Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors
6 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
7 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
8 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
9 Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky
10 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott